On speaking with the dead.

Jesus tells us a parable in Luke 16:19-31. Pay special attention to the last line.

19 “There was a rich man who would dress in purple and fine linen, feasting lavishly every day. 20 But a poor man named Lazarus, covered with sores, was left at his gate. 21 He longed to be filled with what fell from the rich man’s table, but instead the dogs would come and lick his sores. 22 One day the poor man died and was carried away by the angels to Abraham’s side. The rich man also died and was buried.23 And being in torment in Hades, he looked up and saw Abraham a long way off, with Lazarus at his side. 24 ‘Father Abraham!’ he called out, ‘Have mercy on me and send Lazarus to dip the tip of his finger in water and cool my tongue, because I am in agony in this flame!’25 “‘Son, ’Abraham said, ‘remember that during your life you received your good things, just as Lazarus received bad things, but now he is comforted here, while you are in agony. 26 Besides all this, a great chasm has been fixed between us and you, so that those who want to pass over from here to you cannot; neither can those from there cross over to us.’ 27 “‘Father,’ he said, ‘then I beg you to send him to my father’s house— 28 because I have five brothers—to warn them, so they won’t also come to this place of torment.’ 29 “But Abraham said, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; they should listen to them.’ 30 “‘No, father Abraham,’ he said. ‘But if someone from the dead goes to them, they will repent.’ 31 “But he told him, ‘If they don’t listen to Moses and the prophets, they will not be persuaded if someone rises from the dead.’”

Now let’s look at a verse from the prophet Isaiah –

Isaiah 8:19-20
19 When they say to you, “Consult the spirits of the dead and the spiritists who chirp and mutter,” shouldn’t a people consult their God? Should they consult the dead on behalf of the living? 20 To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, there will be no dawn for them.

We too live in a time where people would rather consult “spiritualists” than God. But perhaps they can’t hear from God. Where is the connection broken? Sometimes God doesn’t talk to humans. Sometimes we don’t talk to God.

This reminds me of the story of Samuel, a young prophet, when he first was called by God. Pay special attention to verses 1 and 7.

1 Samuel 3:1-10
The boy Samuel served the LORD in Eli’s presence. In those days the word of the LORD was rare and prophetic visions were not widespread.2 One day Eli, whose eyesight was failing, was lying in his room. 3 Before the lamp of God had gone out, Samuel was lying down in the tabernacle of the LORD, where the ark of God was located. 4 Then the LORD called Samuel, and he answered, “Here I am.” 5 He ran to Eli and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “I didn’t call,” Eli replied. “Go back and lie down.” So he went and lay down. 6 Once again the LORD called, “Samuel!” Samuel got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; you called me.” “I didn’t call, my son,” he replied. “Go back and lie down.” 7 Now Samuel had not yet experienced the LORD, because the word of the LORD had not yet been revealed to him. 8 Once again, for the third time, the LORD called Samuel. He got up, went to Eli, and said, “Here I am; you called me.” Then Eli understood that the LORD was calling the boy. 9 He told Samuel, “Go and lie down. If He calls you, say, ‘Speak, LORD, for Your servant is listening.’” So Samuel went and lay down in his place. 10 The LORD came, stood there, and called as before, “Samuel, Samuel!” Samuel responded, “Speak, for Your servant is listening.”

What if we live in a time where God is speaking, but nobody is listening? What if we think that only ministers can hear from God, but everybody else can’t?

Jesus came to make us all like brothers – equal.

Matthew 23:8-12
8 “But as for you, do not be called ‘Rabbi,’ because you have one Teacher, and you are all brothers. 9 Do not call anyone on earth your father, because you have one Father, who is in heaven. 10 And do not be called masters either, because you have one Master, the Messiah. 11 The greatest among you will be your servant. 12 Whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.

We are all able to speak to God and to listen. Jesus’ death tore the curtain that separated the Holy of Holies.

Matthew 27:50-51
50 Jesus shouted again with a loud voice and gave up His spirit. 51 Suddenly, the curtain of the sanctuary was split in two from top to bottom; the earth quaked and the rocks were split.

There is nothing anymore that separates the direct experience of God from everyone. It is no longer a place just for the High Priest. There is no “them” and “us” when it comes to access to God .

You no longer have to consult spiritualists or mediums or even ministers. Why get it second-hand? Go directly to the Source and hear it for yourself.

(All Bible translations are HCSB)

The power of faith over a demon.

A large crowd met them when they came down from the mountain the next day. Scribes were arguing with the rest of the disciples. Jesus asked them “What are you arguing with them about?”

A man in the crowd answered, saying “Lord, have compassion on my only son. He has a spirit that makes him shriek instead of being able to speak normally. Often the spirit seizes him and makes him have convulsions. He foams at the mouth, grinds his teeth, and becomes rigid when this happens. The spirit often throws him to the ground or into fire or water. I asked your disciples to drive the demon out of my son but they couldn’t.”

Jesus said “You unbelieving and corrupt generation! How long will I be here with you to help you out? How long must I put up with your lack of faith? Bring your son to me.”

They brought the boy, and when the spirit saw Jesus it immediately made the boy have convulsions. He fell on the ground, rolling around, and was foaming at the mouth.

Jesus asked the father “How long has this been happening?” “From his childhood,” said the boy’s father. “It has often tried to destroy him. If you are able to, have compassion on us and help us.”

“’If you are able’? Everything is possible if you believe.” The boy’s father immediately cried out “I believe! Help my unbelief!”

Then Jesus noticed a large crowd was quickly gathering around them. Jesus rebuked the unclean spirit, saying “You deaf and mute spirit, I command you to come out of him and never enter him again.” It came out of the boy, making him violently convulse and shriek. Many people in the crowd thought he was dead. But Jesus took him by the hand, helped him stand up, and gave him back to his father. The boy was healed from that moment on. The crowd was amazed at the greatness of God.

Later the disciples asked him privately, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He told them “This kind of spirit can only come out by prayer and fasting.”

MT 17:14-21, MK 9:14-29, LK 9:37-42

An unclean spirit’s return

“When an unclean spirit is cast out of a person, it wanders through waterless places looking for a place to rest. When it doesn’t find anywhere to rest, it says to itself ‘I will return to the house that I left.’ When it arrives, it finds the house empty, swept clean, and put in order. Then it goes and gathers up seven other spirits who are more evil than it is, and they enter and make themselves at home in the man. The result is that the man is now worse off than he was before. This is how it will be for this evil generation.”

MT 12:43-45, LK 11:24-26

The hot air balloon.

Say you have a hot air balloon but it has some holes in it. You have two choices if you want to keep it aloft. Patch the holes or put more hot air into it. If you don’t, you’ll crash into trees, or even the ground.

It is hard to patch the holes while you are in motion. It is easier to do that on the ground. You can’t fly it and do it yourself. A professional might have to be hired. That is dangerous work.

So this is your life. The holes are the places where your energy leaks out. Frustrations, hurts, old injuries to your psyche. You can’t patch them on your own unless you are safely on the ground. You can’t keep on doing your daily routine like work and family. You need a safe place without any distractions. If you are going to keep on going you have to hire professional, like a counselor or a therapist. You want someone who is done this before.

Adding hot air is doing all the stuff that builds you up. It includes resting, spending time with friends, eating healthy food, getting exercise, being creative. All these things and plenty more make your spirit stronger. You have to make sure to do them regularly – not just when you feel your balloon going low. They are preventive medicine.

Even if you don’t have a hole in your balloon, the balloon starts to sink over time because the air gets cooler. You can’t wait until you notice that the balloon is sinking to add air. You have to do it before that because it takes a while for the air to start to do its job.